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Thus laden, dream that they are rich and great,
And happiest he that groans beneath his weight;
The waves o'ertake them in their serious play,
And ev'ry hour sweeps multitudes away;
They shriek and sink, survivors start and weep,
Pursue their sport, and follow to the deep.
A few forsake the throng; with lifted eyes
Ask wealth of Heav'n, and gain a real prize,
Truth, wisdom, grace, and peace, like that above,
Seal’d with his signet, whom they serve and love;
Scorn'd by the rest, with patient hope they wait
A kind release from their imperfect state,
And, unregretted, are soon snatch'd away
From scenes of sorrow into glorious day.
Nor these alone prefer a life recluse,
Who seek retirement for it's proper use;
The love of change, that lives in ev'ry breast,
Genius and temper, and desire of rest,
Discordant motives in one centre meet,
And each inclines it's vot'ry to retreat.
Some minds by nature are averse to noise,
And hate the tumult half the world enjoys,
The lure of av'rice, or the pompous prize,
That courts display before ambitious eyes;
The fruits that hang on pleasure's flow'ry stem,
Whate'er enchants them, are no snares to them.
To them the deep recess of dusky groves,
Or forest, where the deer securely roves,
The fall of waters, and the song of birds,
And hills that echo to the distant herds,
Are luxuries excelling all the glare
The world can boast, and her chief fav'rites share.
With eager step, and carelessly array'd,
For such a cause the poet seeks the shade,
From all he sees he catches new delight,
Pleas'd Fancy claps her pinions at the sight,
The rising or the setting orb of day,
The clouds that flit, or slowly float away,
Nature in all the various shapes she wears,
Frowning in storms, or breathing gentle airs,
The snowy robe her wintry state assumes,
Her summer heats, her fruits, and her perfumes,
All, all alike transport the glowing bard,
Success in rhyme his glory and reward.
O Nature! whose Elysian scenes disclose
His bright perfections, at whose word they rose,
Next to that pow'r, who form'd thee and sustains,
Be thou the great inspirer of my strains.
Still, as I touch the lyre, do thou expand
Thy genuine charms, and guide an artless hand,
That I may catch a fire but rarely known,
Give useful light, though I should miss renown,
And, poring on thy page, whose ev'ry line
Bears proof of an intelligence divine,
May feel a heart enrich'd by what it pays,
That builds it's glory on it's Maker's praise.
Woe to the man, whose wit disclaims it's use,
Glitt'ring in vain, or only to seduce,
Who studies nature with a wanton eye,
Admires the work, but slips the lesson by ;
His hours of leisure and recess employs
In drawing pictures of forbidden joys,
Retires to blazon his own worthless name,
Or shoot the careless with a surer aim.
The lover, too, shuns business and alarms,
Tender idolater of absent charms.
Saints offer nothing in their warmest pray'rs,
That he devotes not with a zeal like theirs;
T is consecration of his heart, soul, time,
And ev'ry thought that wanders is a crime.
In sighs he worships his supremely fair, And weeps a sad libation in despair; Adores a creature, and, devout in vain, Wins in return an answer of disdain. As woodbine weds the plant within her reach, Rough elm, or smooth-grain’d ash, or glossy becch, In spiral rings ascends the trunk, and lays Her golden tassels on the leafy sprays, But does a mischief while she lends a grace, Strait'ning it's growth by such a strict embrace; So love, that clings around the noblest minds, Forbids th' advancement of the soul he binds; The suitor's air, indecd, he soon improves, And forms it to the taste of her he loves, Teaches his eyes a language, and no less Refines his speech, and fashions his address; But farewell promises of happier fruits, Manly designs, and learning's grave pursuits; Girt with a chain he cannot wish to break. His only bliss is sorrow for her sake; Who will may pant for glory and excel, Her smile his aim, all higher aims farewell ! Thyrsis, Alexis, or whatever name May least offend against so pure a flame, Though sage advice of friends the most sincere Sounds harshly in so delicate an ear, And lovers, of all creatures, tame or wild, Can least brook management, however mild, Yet let a poet (poetry disarms The fiercest animals with magic charms) Risk an intrusion on thy pensive mood, And woo and win thee to thy proper good. Pastoral images and still retreats, Umbrageous walks and solitary seats, Sweet birds in concert with harmonious streams, Soft airs, nocturnal vigils, and day dreams, Are all enchantments in a case like thine, Conspire against thy peace with one design, Soothe thee to make thee but a surer prey, And feed the fire, that wastes thy pow'rs away. Up – God has form'd thee with a wiser vicw, Not to be led in chains, but to subdue ; Calls thee to cope with enemies, and first Points out a conflict with thyself, the worst. Woman indeed, a gift he would bestow When he design'd a Paradise below, The richest earthly boon his hands afford, Deserves to be belov'd, but not ador'd. Post away swiftly to more active scenes, Collect the scatter'd truths that study gleans, Mix with the world, but with its wiser part, No longer give an image all thine heart; It's empire is not hers, nor is it thine, 'T is God's just claim, prerogative divine. Virtuous and faithful Heberden, whose skill Attempts no task it cannot well fulfil, Gives melancholy up to Nature's care, And sends the patient into purer air. Look where he comes—in this embower'd alcove Stand close conceal’d, and see a statue move: Lips busy, and eyes fix'd, foot falling slow, Arms hanging idly down, hands clasp'd below, Interpret to the marking eye distress, Such as it's symptoms can alone express. That tongue is silent now ; that silent tongue Could argue once, could jest or join the song, Could give advice, could censure or commend, Or charm the sorrows of a drooping friend. Renounc'd alike it's office and it's sport, It's brisker and it's graver strains fall short;
Both fail beneath a fever's secret sway,
And like a summer-brook are past away.
This is a sight for Pity to peruse,
Till she resemble faintly what she views,
Till Sympathy contract a kindred pain,
Pierc'd with the woes that she laments in vain.
This, of all maladies that man infest,
Claims most compassion and receives the least:
Job felt it, when he groan'd beneath the rod
And the barb’d arrows of a frowning God;
And such emollients as his friends could spare,
Friends such as his for modern Jobs prepare.
Blest, rather curst, with hearts that never feel,
Kept snug in caskets of close-hammer'd steel,
With mouths made only to grin wide and eat,
And minds, that deem derided pain a treat,
With limbs of British oak, and nerves of wire,
And wit that puppet-prompters might inspire,
Their sov’reign nostrum is a clumsy joke,
Or pangs enforc'd with God's severest stroke.
But with a soul, that ever felt the sting
Of sorrow, sorrow is a sacred thing:
Not to molest, or irritate, or raise
A laugh at his expense, is slender praise;
He, that has not usurp'd the name of man,
Does all, and deems too little all, he can,
T’assuage the throbbings of a fester'd part,
And stanch the bleedings of a broken heart.
'T is not, as heads that never ache suppose,
Forg'ry of fancy, and a dream of woes;
Man is a harp, whose chords elude the sight,
Each yielding harmony dispos'd aright;
The screws revers'd, (a task which, if he please,
God in a moment executes with ease,)
Ten thousand thousand strings at once go loose,
Lost, till he tune them, all their power and use.
Then neither heathy wilds, nor scenes as fair
As ever recompens'd the peasant's care,
Nor soft declivities with tufted hills,
Nor view of waters turning busy mills,
Parks in which Art preceptress Nature weds,
Nor gardens interspers'd with flow'ry beds,
Nor gales, that catch the scent of blooming groves,
And waft it to the mourner as he roves,
Can call up life into his faded eye,
That passes all he sees unheeded by ;
No wounds like those a wounded spirit feels,
No cure for such, till God who makes them heals.
And thou, sad suff'rer under nameless ill,
That yields not to the touch of human skill,
Improve the kind occasion, understand
A Father's frown, and kiss his chast'ning hand.
To thee the dayspring, and the blaze of noon,
The purple ev'ning, and resplendent Moon,
The stars, that, sprinkled o'er the vault of night,
Seem drops descending in a show'r of light,
Shine not, or . and hated shine,
Seen through the medium of a cloud like thine:
Yet seek him, in his favour life is found,
All bliss beside a shadow or a sound:
Then Heav'n, eclips'd so long, and this dull Earth,
Shall seem to start into a second birth;
Nature, assuming a more lovely face,
Borr'wing a beauty from the works of grace,
Shall be despis'd and overlook'd no more,
Shall fill thee with delights unfelt before,
Impart to things inanimate a voice,
And bid her mountains and her hills rejoice;
The sound shall run along the winding vales,
*nd thou enjoy an Eden ere it fails.
Ye groves, (the statesman at his desk exclaims, Sick of a thousand disappointed aims,) My patrimonial treasure and my pride, Beneath your shades your gray possessor hide, Receive me languishing for that repose, The servant of the public never knows. Ye saw me once (ah those regretted days, When boyish innocence was all my praise!) Hour after hour delightfully allot To studies then familiar, since forgot, And cultivate a taste for ancient song, Catching it's ardour as I mus'd along ; Nor seldom, as propitious Heav'n might send, What once I valu'd and could boast, a friend, Were witnesses how cordially I press'd His undissembling virtue to my breast; Receive me now, not uncorrupt as then, Nor guiltless of corrupting other men, But vers'd in arts, that, while they seem to stay A falling empire, hasten it's decay. To the fair haven of my native home, The wreck of what I was, fatigued I come; For once I can approve the patriot's voice, And make the course he recommends my choice: We meet at last in one sincere desire, His wish and mine both prompt me to retire 'T is done — he steps into the welcome chaisc, Lolls at his ease behind four handsome bays, That whirl away from business and debate The disencumber'd Atlas of the state. Ask not the boy, who, when the breeze of morn First shakes the glitt'ring drops from ev’ry thorn, Unfolds his flock, then under bank or bush Sits linking cherry stones, or platting rush, How fair is freedom ?—he was always free: To carve his rustic name upon a tree,
To snare the mole, or with ill-fashion'd hook
To draw th’ incautious minnow from the brook,
Are life's prime pleasures in his simple view,
His flock the chief concern he ever knew ;
She shines but little in his heedless eyes,
The good we never miss we rarely prize:
But ask the noble drudge in state affairs,
Escap'd from office and it's constant cares,
What charms he sees in Freedom's smile express'd,
In Freedom lost so long, now repossess'd;
The tongue, whose strains were cogent as com-
Rever'd at home, and felt in foreign lands,
Shall own itself a stamm'rer in that cause,
Or plead it's silence as it's best applause.
He knows indeed that whether dress'd or rude,
Wild without art, or artfully subdued,
Nature in ev'ry form inspires delight,
But never mark'd her with so just a sight.
Her hedge-row shrubs, a variegated store,
With woodbine and wild roses mantled o'er,
Green balks and furrow'd lands, the stream that
It's cooling vapour o'er the dewy meads,
Downs, that almost escape th' inquiring eye,
That melt and fade into the distant sky,
Beauties he lately slighted as he pass'd,
Seem all created since he travell'd last.
Master of all th' enjoyments he design'd,
No rough annoyance rankling in his mind,
What early philosophic hours he keeps,
How regular his meals, how sound he sleeps!
Not sounder he, that on the mainmast-head,
While morning kindles with a windy red,
Begins a long look-out for distant land,
Nor quits till ev'ning watch his giddy stand,
Then swift descending with a seaman's haste,
Slips to his hammock, and forgets the blast.
He chooses company, but not the squire's,
Whose wit is rudeness, whose good-breeding tires;
Nor yet the parson's, who would gladly come,
Obsequious when abroad, though proud at home;
Nor can he much affect the neighb'ring peer,
Whose toe of emulation treads too near ;
But wisely seeks a more convenient friend,
With whom, dismissing forms, he may unbend;
A man, whom marks of condescending grace
Teach, while they flatter him, his proper place;
Who comes when call'd, and at a word withdraws,
Speaks with reserve, and listens with applause;
Some plain mechanic, who, without pretence
To birth or wit, nor gives nor takes offence;
On whom he rests well-pleas'd his weary pow'rs,
And talks and laughs away his vacant hours.
The tide of life, swift always in its course,
May run in cities with a brisker force,
But no where with a current so serene,
Or half so clear, as in the rural scene.
Yet how fallacious is all earthly bliss,
What obvious truths the wisest heads may miss;
Some pleasures live a month, and some a year,
But short the date of all we gather here;
No happiness is felt except the true,
That does not charm the more for being new.
This observation, as it chanc'd, not made,
Or, if the thought occurr'd, not duly weigh'd,
He sighs—for after all by slow degrees
The spot he lov'd has lost the pow'r to please;
To cross his ambling pony day by day
Seems at the best but dreaming life away;
The prospect, such as might enchant despair,
He views it not, or sees no beauty there;
With aching heart, and discontented looks,
Returns at noon to billiards or to books,
But feels, while grasping at his faded joys,
A secret thirst of his renounc'd employs.
He chides the tardiness of ev'ry post,
Pants to be told of battles won or lost,
Blames his own indolence, observes, though late,
'T is criminal to leave a sinking state,
Flies to the levee, and receiv'd with grace,
Kneels, kisses hands, and shines again in place.
Suburban villas, highway-side retreats,
That dread the encroachment of our growing streets,
Tight boxes, neatly sash'd, and in a blaze
With all a July sun's collected rays,
Delight the citizen, who, gasping there,
Breathes clouds of dust, and calls it country air.
O sweet retirement, who would balk the thought,
That could afford retirement, or could not?
T is such an easy walk, so smooth and straight,
The second milestone fronts the garden gate;
A step if fair, and, if a show'r approach,
You find safe shelter in the next stage-coach.
There, prison'd in a parlour snug and small,
Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall,
The man of business and his friends compress'd
Forget their labours, and yet find no rest;
But still "t is rural-trees are to be seen
From ev’ry window, and the fields are green;
Ducks paddle in the pond before the door,
And what could a remoter scene show more?
A sense of elegance we rarely find
The portion of a mean or vulgar mind,
And ignorance of better things makes man,
Who cannot much, rejoice in what he can;
And he, that deems his leisure well bestow'd
In contemplation of a turnpike road,
Is occupied as well, employs his hours
As wisely, and as much improves his pow'rs,
As he, that slumbers in pavilions grac'd
With all the charms of an accomplish'd taste.
Yet hence, alas ! insolvencies; and hence
Th’ unpitied victim of ill-judg’d expense,
From all his wearisome engagements freed,
Shakes hands with business, and retires indeed.
Your prudent grand-mammas, ye modern belles,
Content with Bristol, Bath, and Tunbridge Wells,
When health required it would consent to roam,
Else more attach'd to pleasures found at home.
But now alike, gay widow, virgin, wife,
Ingenious to diversify dull life,
In coaches, chaises, caravans, and hoys,
Fly to the coast for daily, nightly joys,
And all, impatient of dry land, agree
With one consent to rush into the sea. —
Ocean exhibits, fathomless and broad,
Much of the pow'r and majesty of God.
He swathes about the swelling of the deep,
That shines and rests, as infants smile and sleep;
Vast as it is, it answers as it flows
The breathings of the lightest air that blows;
Curling and whit'ning over all the waste,
The rising waves obey th’ increasing blast,
Abrupt and horrid as the tempest roars,
Thunder and flash upon the stedfast shores,
Till he, that rides the whirlwind, checks the rein,
Then all the world of waters sleeps again. —
Nereids or Dryads, as the fashion leads,
Now in the floods, now panting in the meads,
Wot'ries of Pleasure still, where'er she dwells,
Near barren rocks, in palaces, or cells,
O grant a poet leave to recommend
(A poet fond of Nature, and your friend)
Her slighted works to your admiring view;
Her works must needs excel, who fashion'd you.
Would ye, when rambling in your morning ride,
With some unmeaning coxcomb at your side,
Condemn the prattler for his idle pains,
To waste unheard the music of his strains,
And, deaf to all th' impertinence of tongue,
That, while it courts, affronts and does you wrong,
Mark well the finish'd plan without a fault,
The seas globose and huge, th' o'er-arching vault,
Earth's millions daily fed, a world employ'd
In gath'ring plenty yet to be enjoy'd,
Till gratitude grew vocal in the praise
Of God, beneficent in all his ways;
Grac'd with such wisdom, how would beauty shine!
Ye want but that to seem indeed divine.
Anticipated rents, and bills unpaid,
Force many a shining youth into the shade,
Not to redeem his time, but his estate,
And play the fool, but at a cheaper rate.
There, hid in loath'd obscurity, remov’d
From pleasures left, but never more belov'd,
He just endures, and with a sickly spleen
Sighs o'er the beauties of the charming scene.
Nature indeed looks prettily in rhyme;
Streams tinkle sweetly in poetic chime:
The warblings of the blackbird, clear and strong,
Are musical enough in Thomson's song;
And Cobham's groves, and Windsor's green retreats,
When Pope describes them, have a thousand sweets;
He likes the country, but in truth must own, Most likes it, when he studies it in town. Poor Jack —no matter who — for when I blame, I pity, and must therefore sink the name, I.iv'd in his saddle, lov'd the chase, the course, And always, ere he mounted, kiss'd his horse. The estate, his sires had own'd in ancient years, . Was quickly distanc'd, match'd against a peer's. Jack vanish'd, was regretted and forgot; 'T is wild good-nature's never-failing lot. At length, when all had long suppos'd him dead, 13y cold submersion, razor, rope, or lead, My lord, alighting at his usual place, The Crown, took notice of an ostler's face. Jack knew his friend, but hop'd in that disguise He might escape the most observing eyes, And whistling, as if unconcern'd and gay, Curried his nag, and look'd another way. Convinc'd at last, upon a nearer view, 'Twas he, the same, the very Jack he knew, O'erwhelm'd at once with wonder, grief, and joy, He press'd him much to quit his base employ; His countenance, his purse, his heart, his hand, Influence and pow'r, were all at his command: Peers are not always gen’rous as well bred, But Granby was, meant truly what he said. Jack bow'd, and was oblig'd — confess'd 't was strange, That so retir'd he should not wish a change, But knew no medium between guzzling beer, And his old stint—three thousand pounds a year. Thus some retire to nourish hopeless woe, Some seeking happiness not found below; Some to comply with humour, and a mind To social scenes by nature disinclin'd ; Some sway’d by fashion, some by deep disgust; Some self-impov'rish'd, and because they must; But few, that court Retirement; are aware Of half the toils they must encounter there. Lucrative offices are seldom lost For want of pow'rs proportion'd to the post: Give ev'm a dunce th' employment he desires, And he soon finds the talents it requires; A business with an income at it's heels Furnishes always oil for it's own wheels But in his arduous enterprise to close His active years with indolent repose, He finds the labours of that state exceed His utmost faculties, severe indeed. 'T is easy to resign a toilsome place, But not to manage leisure with a grace; Absence of occupation is not rest, A mind quite vacant is a mind distress'd. The vet'ran steed, excus'd his task at length, In kind compassion of his failing strength, And turn'd into the park or mead to graze, Exempt from future service all his days, There feels a pleasure perfect in it's kind, Ranges at liberty, and snuffs the wind; But when his lord would quit the busy road, To taste a joy like that he had bestow'd, He proves, less happy than his favour'd brute, A life of ease a difficult pursuit. Thought, to the man that never thinks, may seem As natural as when asleep to dream; But reveries (for human minds will act) Specious in show, impossible in fact, Those flimsy webs, that break as soon as wrought, Attain not to the dignity of thought:
| Nor yet the swarms, that occupy the brain,
Where dreams of dress, intrigue, and pleasure
Nor such as useless conversation breeds,
Or lust engenders, and indulgence feeds.
Whence, and what are we? to what end ordain'd?
| What means the drama by the world sustain'd?
Business or vain amusement, care or mirth,
Divide the frail inhabitants of Earth.
Is duty a mere sport, or an employ 2
Life an intrusted talent, or a toy 2
Is there, as reason, conscience, Scripture, say,
Cause to provide for a great future day,
When, Earth's assign'd duration at an end,
Man shall be summon'd and the dead attend ?
The trumpet — will it sound 2 the curtain rise?
And show th' august tribunal of the skies,
Where no prevarication shall avail,
Where eloquence and artifice shall fail,
The pride of arrogant distinctions fall,
And conscience and our conduct judge us all?
Pardon me, ye that give the midnight oil
To learned cares or philosophic toil,
Though I revere your honourable names,
Your useful labours and important aims,
And hold the world indebted to your aid,
Enrich'd with the discov'ries ye have made;
Yet let me stand excus'd, if I esteem
A mind employ'd on so sublime a theme,
Pushing her bold inquiry to the date
And outline of the present transient state,
And, after poising her advent'rous wings,
Settling at last upon eternal things,
Far more intelligent and better taught
The strenuous use of profitable thought,
Than ye, when happiest and enlighten’d most,
And highest in renown, can justly boast.
A mind unnerv'd, or indispos'd to bear
The weight of subjects worthiest of her care,
Whatever hopes a change of scene inspires,
Must change her nature, or in vain retires.
An idler is a watch, that wants both hands;
As useless if it goes, as when it stands.
Books therefore, not the scandal of the shelves,
In which lewd sensualists print out themselves;
Nor those, in which the stage gives vice a blow,
With what success let modern manners show ;
Nor his, who, for the bane of thousands born,
Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn,
Skilful alike to seem devout and just,
And stab religion with a sly side-thrust;
Nor those of learn'd philologists, who chase
A panting syllable through time and space,
Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark
To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark;
But such as learning without false pretence,
The friend of truth, th' associate of sound sense,
And such as in the zeal of good design,
Strong judgment lab'ring in the Scripture mine,
All such as manly and great souls produce,
Worthy to live, and of eternal use:
Behold in these what leisure hours demand,
Amusement and true knowledge hand in hand.
Luxury gives the mind a childish cast,
And, while she polishes, perverts the taste;
Habits of close attention, thinking heads,
| Become more rare as dissipation spreads,
| Till authors hear at length one gen'ral cry,
| Tickle and entertain us, or we die.
The loud demand, from year to year the same,
Beggars Invention, and makes Fancy lame;
Till farce itself, most mournfully jejune,
Calls for the kind assistance of a tune;
And novels (witness every month's review)
Belie their name, and offer nothing new.
The mind, relaxing into needful sport,
Should turn to writers of an abler sort,
Whose wit well manag'd, and whose classic style,
Give truth a lustre, and make wisdom smile.
Friends, (for I cannot stint, as some have done,
Too rigid in my view, that name to one;
Though one, I grant it, in the gen’rous breast
Will stand advanc'd a step above the rest:
Flow’rs by that name promiscuously we call,
But one, the rose, the regent of them all,)—
Friends, not adopted with a schoolboy's haste,
But chosen with a nice discerning taste,
Well-born, well-disciplin'd, who, plac'd apart
From vulgar minds, have honour much at heart,
And, though the world may think th' ingredients odd,
The love of virtue, and the fear of God!
Such friends prevent what else would soon succeed,
A temper rustic as the life we lead,
And keep the polish of the manners clean,
As theirs who bustle in the busiest scene;
For solitude, however some may rave,
Seeming a sanctuary, proves a grave,
A sepulchre, in which the living lie,
Where all good qualities grow sick and die.
I praise the Frenchman", his remark was shrewd—
How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude!
But grant me still a friend in my retreat,
Whom I may whisper — solitude is sweet.
Yet neither these delights, nor aught beside,
That appetite can ask, or wealth provide,
Can save us always from a tedious day,
Or shine the dulness of still life away;
Divine communion, carefully enjoy'd,
Or sought with energy, must fill the void.
O sacred art, to which alone life owes
It's happiest seasons, and a peaceful close,
Scorn'd in a world, indebted to that scorn
For evils daily felt and hardly borne,
Not knowing thee, we reap with bleeding hands
Flow'rs of rank odour upon thorny lands,
And, while experience cautions us in vain,
Grasp seeming happiness, and find it pain.
Despondence, self-deserted in her grief,
Lost by abandoning her own relief,
Murmuring and ungrateful Discontent,
That scorns afflictions mercifully meant,
Those humours tart as wines upon the fret,
Which idleness and weariness beget;
These, and a thousand plagues, that haunt the breast,
Fond of the phantom of an earthly rest,
Divine communion chases, as the day
Drives to their dens th’ obedient beasts of prey.
See Judah's promis'd king bereft of all,
Driv'n out an exile from the face of Saul,
To distant caves the lonely wand'rer flies,
To seek that peace a tyrant's frown denies,
Hear the sweet accents of his tuneful voice,
Hear him, o'erwhelm'd with sorrow, yet rejoice;
No womanish or wailing grief has part,
No, not a moment, in his royal heart;
'T is manly music, such as martyrs make,
Suff'ring with gladness for a Saviour's sake;
His soul exults, hope animates his lays, | The sense of mercy kindles into praise, And wilds, familiar with a lion's roar, Ring with ecstatic sounds unheard before: 'T is love like his, that can alone defeat The foes of man, or make a desert sweet. Religion does not censure or exclude Unnumber'd pleasures harmlessly pursued; To study culture, and with artful toil To meliorate and tame the stubborn soil; To give dissimilar yet fruitful lands The grain, or herb, or plant, that each demands; To cherish virtue in an humble state, And share the joys your bounty may create; To mark the matchless workings of the pow'r, That shuts within it's seed the future flow'r, Bids these in elegance of form excel, In colour these, and those delight the smell, Sends Nature forth the daughter of the skies, To dance on Earth, and charm all human eyes; To teach the canvass innocent deceit, Or lay the landscape on the snowy sheet— These, these are arts pursu'd without a crime, That leave no stain upon the wing of Time. Me poetry (or rather notes that aim Feebly and vainly at poetic fame) Employs, shut out from more important views, Fast by the banks of the slow-winding Ouse; Content if thus sequester'd I may raise A monitor's, though not a poet's praise, And while I teach an art too little known, To close life wisely, may not waste my own.
The history cf the following production is briefly this: A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the Sora for a subject. He obeyed; and, having much leisure, connected another subject with it: and, pursuing the train of thought to which his situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair — a volume.
In the poem on the subject of Education, he would be very sorry to stand suspected of having aimed his censure at any particular school. His objections are such as naturally apply themselves to schools in general. If there were not, as for the most part there is, wilful neglect in those who manage them, and an omission even of such discipline as they are susceptible of, the objects are yet too numerous for minute attention; and the aching hearts of ten thousand parents, mourning under the bitterest of all disappointments, attest the truth of the allegation. His quarrel, therefore, is with the mischief at large, and not with any particular instance of it.